What is StepMania 5.3?

It is the next version of StepMania in development. We are aiming to modernize the existing StepMania 5.0.x/5.1 codebase to improve its performance and provide enhanced support for modern hardware and operating systems. We are also adding new features, including those being requested by our community, as well as refurbishing its support of non-dance/4-key game types, adding new game types, and so forth.

What is Project Moondance?

It is a community/umbrella for Team Rizu (the 5.3 dev team), covering 5.3 as well as other related projects.

Will it still work with my old songs/themes/etc.?

5.3 builds upon the existing 5.0.12/5.1 beta codebase, and maintaining backwards compatibility with older content is one of our main priorities (in fact, this is one of the reasons why the version number is 5.3 rather than skipping to a higher number like 6.0). Content that worked on 5.0.12/5.1 (including songs, themes, and noteskins) should still work on 5.3. If you experience any issues/weirdness, please report it to us.

Side note for developers

Please note that we are deprecating the use of semicolon-separated cmd() blocks (i.e.  OnCommand=cmd(linear,1.5;diffusealpha,1); ) as a means of placing commands on actors in Lua scripts, as this method is a non-standard Lua function that was created for StepMania, and 5.3 is not optimized with this coding style in mind (themes may experience performance penalties if they use this method). It is strongly recommended that function chaining (i.e. code such as OnCommand=function(self) self:linear(1.5):diffusealpha(1) end, ) be used instead.

Can I install it alongside existing versions of StepMania?

Yes. Our installer on Windows also defaults to portable mode, so user profile data is stored in your installation directory.

If you would like to have a shared song library between multiple StepMania builds, you can use the AdditionalSongFolders preference in Save/Preferences.ini to specify a path.

Will there be online support?

The existing "StepMania Online" (SMO) functionality is deprecated, but we have future plans to develop a revamped online system.

Where is the source code?/Why are you not open source?

Right now we are not maintaining a public code repository, but we will open one in the future (with our code licensed under the Apache License 2.0). As 5.3 is developing at a rapid pace, allowing source code access at this time would allow users to compile their own builds based on incomplete work, which would be difficult for us to debug/support.

If you have any questions related to the 5.3 code itself, feel free to ask one of the development team members on our Discord server, and we'll be happy to discuss

The project began as a method to add online and profiles to SM5, but when we looked into the engine to see how this could be appropriated, it was discovered just how much in a sorry state the codebase was, and it looked mostly abandoned. I spoke to Shakesoda in hopes of a resurrection in the form of a team project, and it was requested rather than breaking 10 years of content and community to take the time to make a proper 5.x build that is stable and supports what the community as a whole wants from the game.

This backward compatibility support has been an absolute git to do, but it's something now we are down the line which we are proud of, as it has brought many players and newcomers to the community, and provided a very stable experience for folks during the lockdown. We will continue to maintain a near 100% compatibility where we can, and this is taken into consideration whenever we plan a new feature or change engine components.

We asked if it was ok to close the source while this process was done, and it was deemed wise for the health of the repo and the need of people who are just wanting to play. Its why we've been around the repo but not on it as taint can happen and we do not wish this. SSC [Spinal Shark Collective, the 5.0.x development team] did this same behaviour before us, so we did not see it as a problem. Some vocal members of the community disagreed, including some of the SM dev team. We have also been compared to past SM repo contributors who may have left a less than savoury memory in the minds of some, and it has also been hard to differentiate from history we have no involvement with.


What is 5.2 and why did you skip over it?

5.2 was originally intended to be the next version of StepMania. However, it included a number of major changes that broke compatibility with previous versions of StepMania, and were not well-received by the community and other developers.

5.2 was originally meant to be 5.1. However, in response to the reception, it was officially delayed in favour of a new 5.1 that was still compatible with 5.0.12. This was done under the presumption that the new version (subsequently renamed 5.2) would eventually be completed. However, this did not end up happening.


My controller doesn't work, but it did on older versions.

StepMania 5.3 contains changes to the input system that are necessary to preserve future compatibility (in particular, using an XInput-compliant input system). See here for more information on how to configure your controller for use on StepMania 5.3.

I have a recent/fast processor and my game is having a lot of problems, why is that?

Parts of the game are so well-optimised now that they're running too fast, and the rest of the game needs to catch up. We will have a proper fix later, but increasing the amount of background activity (i.e. having other programs running in the background, etc.) is a temporary solution.

Simply Love is not letting me use it on 5.3

Simply Love 4.8 does work on 5.3, but you will have to press the Escape button twice to bypass the compatibility warning. Simply Love 4.9 does not allow users to bypass the compatibility warning. These changes were introduced due to misunderstandings of our dev team's positions on certain matters, and we are working to trying to reach out with its author on the possibility of providing integrations with 5.3's features for SL.